Eretz Yisrael Time

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Sunday, May 18, 2008
Call me a Global Warming Skeptic, I have no problem with that.

Saul Singer wrote an important and intelligent piece in response to those who have turned Global Warming into a religion - taking nature out of the equations and completely or primarily blaming it on human behavior.

Required reading in my opinion.

Having said that, I am all in favor of reduced fossil fuel emissions (less local pollution, more savings?), and alternative energy sources like nuclear power and the like. My gas bill is way too high.

Of course, while people have been talking about bio-fuels as alternatives to traditional gas, now we’re hearing that that is causing part of the food shortage.

Suddenly cows passing gas in mass amounts are causing the rise in methane in the air…

Seems you just can’t win.

Anyway, reader Leora asked that I talk about Electric cars and Israel, so here it goes.

I like the idea of Electric cars. They’re very sci-fi. Quiet too.

Of course, they have the same problems as your laptop. Short battery life, and long recharge times.

Israel is a world leader in Electric car development. We’ve got a guy named Shai Agassi (his blog) who started a company full of smart people who knew they could easily find investment money and get big salaries when you talk alternative energy solutions to the right people.

One idea he is promoting is swappable batteries at every gas station. Drive in, swap the old battery with an already recharged one, and away you go.

Anyway, electric is the future, especially as I think we’ve reached the end-stage on existing and future oil fields (unless someone figures out how to easily and cheaply extract it from shale).

Of course, how you produce that electric energy is a big question too. Producing it with polluting fuels is the most common method in Israel (Asthma is a big problem in Haifa, supposedly from the polution caused by the Israel Electric Company).

Actually, Israel is not a world leader in producing electricity from alternative methods.

The country is controlled by the Israel Electric Corporation, and it is actually illegal to produce your own electricity for commercial use.

If you drove around the Golan you might have seen the windmills sitting there, you’d know they are just sitting there and not producing electricity, because that would be illegal for them to do.

Now, the IEC claims they are planning to put solar powered systems in the Negev.

Israeli companies are the leader in developing that too, but don’t count on us actually using it that quickly. That would be illegal for anyone but the IEC to do, and what is there incentive?

And finally, you may have heard of the Red-Dead or Med-Dead project (recently revived at Peres’s latest shin-ding). They would produce hydroelectric power from the elevation differential of the water being transferred. Cool idea (especially in the hot summer when we maybe could swim in it). Again, I’m not counting on it so quickly, but it is very interesting, as it would also solve some of the region’s potable water issues too.

So in answer to your question, Israel is a world leader in alternative energy development. We are behind the curve in implementation.


Leora said...

I am a Global Warming skeptic, too, but in any case we need to stop funding the terrorists by using oil as our main fuel.

Yes, environmentalism can become religious. At the same time, let's protect our environment. (how about for religious reasons like God gave it to us land, water and air that could use protecting).

JoeSettler said...


Kateland, aka TZH said...

I am all for conservation in general but at the end of the day, I expect Israeli scientists may be the ones to solve the oil crisis and save the world.

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